CUSTOMER JOURNEY

The opti SHOWCASE in hall C4 of opti will be themed around a hot topic of the future. The focus in the special exhibition area will be on the "Customer Journey". Jan Schemuth, who will be presenting at the opti FORUM on Saturday, and opti project manager Bettina Reiter tell us all about the Customer Journey.

Bettina Reiter is project manager at opti, The International Trade Show for Optics & Design
Jan Schemuth is Managing Director of rpc Retail Performance Company GmbH, based in Munich

So what's happening at the opti SHOWCASE?

Reiter: The opti SHOWCASE is a new format at opti. Every year at this special exhibition space, we team up with experts to explore major unfolding trends in the industry. This is our way of providing trade visitors with valuable insights and concrete tips to help them move their business forward. The theme of opti SHOWCASE 2019 is the Customer Journey. In addition to lots of information and practical illustrations displayed in the exhibition space, talks and panels on the subject will also be held at the opti FORUM.

 

There seems to be a lot of buzz around the Customer Journey, what is behind it?

Reiter: It is a term representing the path or journey of a potential customer from the first contact with a product, a brand or a company all the way to the purchase and beyond.

 

To which end?

Schemuth: The Customer Journey describes the interplay of interactions and contact points between companies and customers across various sales channels. It helps companies to understand, design and use these interactions and contact points. The big challenge for companies today is to grasp where, when, and how their customers are on the move and how to attract them.

 

Has customer behaviour changed so much?

Schemuth: Conventional sales, like five or ten years ago, no longer works today. In those days, traditional forms of advertising brought the customer’s attention to a product, who would then come to the shop, receive advice and make a purchase. They now have many more opportunities to obtain information and to eventually buy. Typically, the first source of information is online, on the company's website, through social media or on third-party platforms. The number of possible points of contact between a company and a customer has skyrocketed and continues to climb.

 

In other words, the journey does not just begin by entering a shop.

Schemuth: Of course not. These days, customers are used to being able to immediately find out more about whatever they are interested in. They do their research and rely on the experiences and recommendations of others to shape their decision-making. To believe that the customer's journey only begins when they enter a shop is short-sighted and leaves many opportunities untapped.

Reiter: The biggest task - besides waking the customer's interest or winning them over - is not to lose them during the journey, but to convince them of the product or the company. The opti SHOWCASE will reveal how to achieve these goals, including by means of digital tools that offer a multitude of new possibilities to reach, engage and keep customers long-term.

 

You are referring to so-called touchpoints here, aren’t you?

Schemuth: Yes, essentially, any contact with a customer is a touchpoint, either physical or digital, with technical developments, such as augmented or virtual reality, merging the boundaries.

Reiter: At opti SHOWCASE different touchpoints are displayed in different stations. Experts give talks and individual sessions to explain how companies can use these to their advantage and what should be considered. Where and how customers inform themselves, the layout of a website, how to wisely use social media channels, how to train employees so that customers feel fully informed and satisfied, how to build a community and all about eCommerce … All these questions are answered at opti SHOWCASE.

 

Will both online and offline elements play a role in this then?

Schemuth: On- and offline are increasingly growing together. Customers move smoothly between the two worlds. Therefore, an omni-channel strategy is often adopted. Using technologies such as NFC, iBeacons, Geofencing or QR codes, the customer's smartphone can be seamlessly integrated with the shop and information made proactively available. Alternatively, the customer selectively obtains further information on his mobile device. They can also do this on the train, in a café or on the couch at home. The combination of online and offline, offers many opportunities to intensify customer relationships and to recognize when and how customers access information or make purchases via different channels.

Reiter: Absolutely, and much of this will be unveiled at the opti SHOWCASE where trade show visitors can once again look forward to an exciting exhibition area that will be a source of inspiration, new ideas and possibilities, yet also a venue offering concrete tips. They will also encounter some impressive and surprising technical solutions.

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